2017-09-13 / Front Page

County to settle insurance payout for Great Cacapon fire hall fire

by Kate Shunney

The Morgan County Commission voted recently to authorize Commission President Joel Tuttle to sign a settlement agreement with the West Virginia Risk Pool for the July 5, 2016 fire that destroyed the Great Cacapon Volunteer Fire Company hall.

Under the agreement, the risk pool insurance will pay the county a total of $589,417 to cover the value of the building that was lost and the additional costs to build an equivalent building to current building standards.

Commissioner Bob Ford said the building loss was appraised at $510,000 but he negotiated with the insurance company to cover part of the cost of installing a fire suppression system for Great Cacapon’s new fire hall. That system, which is required for a building that houses firefighting equipment, will need a substantial water supply and storage tank.

Ford said the water system alone for the building sprinkler would cost roughly $250,000.

The fire company built what they called a temporary building to house their firefighting equipment last fall. Fire company officials now expect to add onto that building to make a permanent home for the department.

“I believe, when we’re all said and done, the Great Cacapon Fire Company will be made whole,” Ford said.

He said the fire company has already spent $150,000 of their own money on their current building.

The county will turn over all insurance proceeds to the fire company for construction of a building with the requirement that fire officials provide documentation that the funds were spent on the fire hall.

Business park property

Commissioner Ford asked Economic Development Authority director Daryl Cowles to update county officials about the EDA’s business park on U.S. 522.

Ford asked Cowles about enforcement of covenants and restrictions on lots at the business park. He talked about one lot, which he said was full of junk and trailers, but did not name its owners.

Cowles said the lot – owned by Mountain View Solar – does contain several trailers, dumpsters and debris. He said the EDA is aware of the problem and he’s made efforts to talk to company owner Mike McKechnie about cleaning the lot up.

“The EDA has been reluctant to take any drastic action,” Cowles said. “But there’s been little response from Mountain View Solar.”

Ford proposed the EDA should file a lawsuit against the company to enforce a restriction against trailers and trash on the lot. Commissioner Ken Reed, who sits on the EDA, said he advised against that step.

“The last thing you want to do is take legal action,” he said.

Cowles said the solar company bought the lot in 2010 and had until 2012 to build a permanent building. The company’s main offices are located across U.S. 522 at a nearby property.

The EDA does have the right, under the sale contract, to buy the property back for what the company paid for it – a total of $12,000.

“We’ve got other customers wanting to come in there, and they’re not going to come in there if it looks like a junkyard,” said Ford.

The EDA has had recent discussions with companies interested in purchasing lots at the business park, according to their meeting agendas.

Cowles said he would make the EDA board aware of Ford’s desire for action on the lot’s appearance.

In other county business, commissioners appointed Lori Kiley of Berkeley Springs to the E911 Board as a citizen representative.

Officials also approved a request by the 911 director to advertise for a Deputy 911 Director to assist with training and operations.

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That's right, go after the

That's right, go after the one business in Morgan County that's actually making a positive impact. You numbskulls